UN Women provides motorbikes to help police respond to cases of SGBV in far flung communities
Under a light rain at the Police Headquarters in Monrovia, the voices of men and women could be heard. “We are protectors, we are protectors, when the going gets tough and the tough get going, we are protectors”, sang the police officers of the Women and Children Protection Service (WACPS) Unit of the Liberian National Police on 13th September, as they received the keys to eight four wheel ATV motorbikes from Sheelagh Kathy Mangones, UN Women Country Representative in Liberia.
“We hope the motorcycles will help you prevent sexual gender based violence in rural communities through improved patrolling, through your presence in the community and that it will also help you to respond when there is a case of a woman or girl who is a survivor of violence”, stated Madam Mangones as she handed over the keys to Mr. Phil G. Tougbay, Commissioner for Administration, LNP. “Contributing motorcycles is just the first step, how you will use the motorcycles and above all how you as the Liberian National Police (LNP) address the issue of women’s security will make all the difference” added the head of UN Women Liberia.
Eight communities in 8 of the 15 counties have been selected to be given one motorcycle each; these are among the many communities where police face the challenge of not being able to promptly respond to sexual and gender based violence in distant areas due to the lack of transportation. Most often when cases of violence are brought to the police in the community, police do not respond quickly and as a result the perpetrator might have disappeared before the police can even get there.
“Today is a day that I will remember in my Peace Hut work; I appreciate the efforts of UN Women for supporting grass roots women in the communities and the police as well to respond to violence. Women in the Peace Hut and the police are working together to fight violence and these motorbikes will help reduce the challenges of reaching far distances on time to arrest presumed perpetrators of violence”, says Ma Annie Nushann, peace builder and women advocate.
The Peace Hut’s program, supported by UN Women is a community led initiative of women, where the community women meet and feel open to share stories of violence against them, a key link in helping women seek justice. Having listened to the complaints of women, Ma Annie and her group of women will work with the community leadership and the police to insure that the issue of the violence is addressed. This collaboration between the women and the police is strengthening their prevention of and response to SGBV. “The women in the peace huts and the police are working together; there are some things the women feel free and safe to tell us and we can get to the police and work together with them for solution”, said Ma Annie.
“As police officers, it is our responsibility to protect the rights of women, men, and children. UN Women has been helping us since 2012 to fight crimes, especially sexual and gender based violence. UN Women has supplied phones to various depots in the country to respond to violence against women, and in the process have also encouraged local women to work more closely with the police in fighting crimes against women, said Alieu M. Bility, Deputy Chief of the Women and Children Protection Service of the LNP.
“I want to thank the Liberian Police for committing to protecting the population, especially women and children. I would like to thank the women of Totota and Wheala, as well as the other communities through Liberia, where women and men have come together to build peace and to make their communities safer for all citizens. As UN Women, we believe that it is very important to work with you, both, civil society organizations and the LNP, so that, together through community policing, increased dialogue between women’s organizations and the police, as well as mutual accountability to women’s right to a life without violence, you can together begin to better address the issues of gender based violence in Liberia”, said Madam Mangones.
For more information, contact: Pindarous W.T. Allison
Communication Specialist, UN Women– Liberia.